AUGUSTA — The architect who worked on Lithgow Public Library’s expansion and renovation proposal may be paid $800,000 to see the project through to completion.

City Manager William Bridgeo said he will propose at Thursday’s City Council meeting that the city contract with Stewart Roberts, of Johnson Roberts Associates.

Bridgeo said the Massachusetts-based architect’s proposed fee is in line with what other municipal managers have said they’ve paid architects for similar projects and less than what the state allows for comparable projects involving historic renovations and new additions.

He said the fee would amount to 8.7 percent of the estimated construction cost. City voters in June agreed to allow the city to borrow up to $8 million for the project, which is estimated to cost up to $11.7 million. The rest of the money is being raised through donations in a campaign spearheaded by the private Friends of Lithgow Library.

“For the type of work we’re doing, he’s about 1.5 percent below state guidelines,” Bridgeo said. “The fee he’s quoting appears very reasonable. Managers in other communities said 8.7 percent of the estimated construction cost is well in line.”

Roberts in 2006 updated a previous expansion and renovation design of the city’s 120-year-old public library and this year provided an updated design. The contract would include construction document and drawing preparation, coordinating consultants and subcontractors, reviewing the bidding process and overall administration of the construction project, which is expected to last nearly two years.

Of the approximately $800,000 fee, about $500,000 would go to Roberts’ firm and about $300,000 would go to other consultants working on the project, according to his fee proposal.

Bridgeo said hiring someone who is familiar with the project could save the city the money it would cost another architect to get up to speed.

“We’ve very fortunate to have this architect, because he has tremendous depth of experience designing and building impressive library facilities,” Bridgeo said.

Library construction could start next spring.

Councilors are scheduled to review on Thursday, but not vote on, the proposal to hire Roberts. The meeting begins at 6 p.m. in council chambers at Augusta City Center. Bridgeo said the proposal could go to councilors for a vote at the Sept. 4 business meeting.

Also on the council agenda:

• a presentation by Maine Rail Group, a nonprofit organization that advocates for rail transportation, about returning rail service to Augusta from Brunswick by tapping into federal funding sources, according to Matt Nazar, city development director.

• continuation of a discussion about the city’s mineral extraction ordinance and proposed changes to it, which are meant to address residents’ concerns about dust coming from blasting at a West River Road pit owned by McGee Construction.

• discussion of the effect of changes in state policy on road paving, which, city officials said, resulted in the state no longer paving some previously state-paved roads.

• a request to refinance two older city bonds — one for a downtown parking garage, the other to build Cony High School — at lower interest rates, which Bridgeo said could save the state and city money, while not extending the period of time it will take to pay back the bonds.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]

Twitter: @kedwardskj

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